Sarah Ann Lillie Hardinge (1824–1913)

This journal was kept by Sarah Hardinge as her family began its return trip to the East after having come to Texas in 1852. Slight changes in spelling and punctuation have been made for clarity. In addition, definitions have been added for words that were commonly used in the nineteenth century but are out of usage today.

 

 

DIARY OF SARAH ANN LILY BUMSTEAD HARDINGE DANIELS

 
“Camping Out” in Texas
previous to our
Sea Voyage of 29 Days!
 
March 26, 1856
Left this morning the house of Mr. Joseph Polly’s on the Cibolo (pronounced Sea Willow) in whole family. I had been teaching for the past ten months the Elementary and Ornamental branches of an English Education. Our party consisted of Husband, self, our Trio Texans, and nephew Valentine O. Brown, together with the Driver and Son. After bidding adieu to the crowd around us, nearly all composed of my dear pupils, interspersed with the honest faces of the plantation slaves in the rear of the Master and Mistress, we started for the Port of Lavacca, a distance of 125 miles, it being our intention to find there a conveyance by sea homeward bound. Mrs. P. Has kindly and thoughtfully provided us with a store of wholesome provisions, such as will be quite acceptable on our route, and here we all seated in a regular build Baggage Wagon, well loaded with trunks, boxes, portmanteaus, bedding, cooking utensils, &c provisions not excepted. Our first stopping place is at the “Sulphur Springs” a distance of two miles from our starting point. Here we unloaded for the purpose of supplying our wagon with corn for our horses, four in number must be provided with provender as well as ourselves. Here our wagon was greatly improved by a shade, well secured over its skeleton frame which added greatly not only to its appearance, but our comfort. Everything ready again, and we are once more mounted on trunks, boxes, bedding, &c, still higher than before having now a foundation bed for corn, so that our bewildered heads, nearly reach the top-shade of our ambulance as we will hereafter term our repaired & improved conveyance.
 
At the springs mentioned above, we were accompanied by another baggage-wagon with four powerful horses, two drivers and a very heavy freight of “raw-hides.” We were all bound for the same port and each party pleased to find company on so long a journey. We preferred they should take the lead, we jogged on very well, crossed “May’s Creek” better than we anticipated as the late rain generally made these passes rather dangerous to cross with the heavy loads. Stopped about a mile from here.
 
We preferred they should take the lead, we jogged on very well, crossed “May’s Creek” better than we anticipated as the late rain generally made these passes rather dangerous to cross with heavy loads. Stopped about a mile from here, took a “snack” of bread and cheese, rode a mile or two farther, the children falling asleep by turns. Arrived in a short time at “mud-Creek,” which in crossing our leader “got bogged.” Taking advantage of his misfortune we chose a different course of crossing, but before doing so we alighted from our prominent position, all but the driver, and we arrived safely on the opposite side where I seated myself with the children within the shade made by our huge ambulance, whilst the men of our conveyance, taking two of the horses, went to the help of our companions in trouble. But whips, threats, loud cursing, all were of no avail, down, down, deeply “bogged” was the ambulance of “raw-hides.” What to do more, they hardly knew, someone proposed one thing, someone another, but to make a long story short, suffice it to say that in the course of two hours hard labor, our companions recovered from their precarious position, & further delay, whilst I had commenced this journal and done many other things of little or no importance. Nothing more of consequence occurred this day, until we arrived at the “Widow Wallace” within sight of whose tenement, we encamped for the night, something quite novel for me. Here are eight horses, disencumbered by shackles, grazing around me, whilst the men are busily engaged, preparing supper by the cheerful fire just made. The children and myself are seated nearby upon a large bearskin, spread upon the ground. The Doctor is at this moment handing me a plate of ham and eggs nicely fried, corn-bread and butter, or butter and bread as the Texans say, as really there is in proportion always more butter than bread used. And here, too, is a full cup of hot coffee so I must stop writing.
 
March 27
Ate my supper last night with good relish as did the children also, after which they amused themselves in running over the prairie, plucking flowers, etc. The ambulance was then prepared for our night’s reception. The Doctor acting as financier made the best possible use in the arrangements of our bedding, pillows, coverlids &c and soon alighted from our conveyance announcing he had made a very comfortable bed-room for the night. We soon stowed away, the wearied Trio who soon fell asleep, and I might have slept myself, had not one of the most terrible thunderstorm I ever witness occurred last night. I could not banish from my mind the thoughts as I saw the brilliant flashes around us, lighting the whole prairie as with fire, the danger of our position, bound as was our ambulance in large bands of iron and steel fastenings: still the same watchful Father, who has so carefully protected us thus far in our lives, is yet your Shepherd. I could look down from my lofty berth upon the campers below, each lying upon their various pallets, around a blazing fire. The children slept soundly, little dreaming of the storm that had gathered over their innocent heads.
 
March 27
Had a good breakfast of coffee, ham, eggs, cake, &c. The storm somewhat cleared, wind from the north, the still unsettled cask, saucepan, coffeepot, sugar box, cups, plates &c with other implements belonging to our culinary department are all packed again in the ambulance, horses harnessed, passengers seated, now for a start so must stop. After riding on half a mile, we came to a tree, that had been shivered by the storm the night previous, threw some of its fragments a distance of seventy-five feet. Met with nothing of much importance this day. Took our “snack” of bread and cheese at “Coffee-Pot” hill. Came across a large herd of cattle also two or three dead mules, showing the fatal effects of the past unusual severe winter. Supplied ourselves with sweet potatoes at “Wilkinson’s.” Two genuine ambulances passed us, one a very pretty team, driven by two span of handsome black male. The stage also passed us about 4 PM on its way from the port into the interior. Arrived by sundown at “Salt Creek,” far out on the open prairie seven miles from a single house. Horses are again set at liberty, as well as our juvenile travelers, who are roaming over the prairie, judging by their activity that they are all pleased to regain the freedom of their cramped limbs once more. Fire is made, supper ready, all hungry.
 
March 28
Felt better refreshed from last night’s rest than I had for the past three weeks. We started again, early this morning, after the usual preparations, passed by several dead horses, more effects of the past winter. Saw a herd of wild deer in the distance, also a wolf, but not having a rifle loaded did not molest him. Arrived at 10 A.M. at Yorktown, a small village composed of about a dozen houses, here the “Dr.” brought some pies, cakes, candy by way of variety. Before reached this town, I should have mentioned Capt. Friar’s plantation enclosed by a hedge of “Cactus Stalk,” the first of the kind I ever saw. Here I saw corn, about a foot high, growing thrivingly, also other vegetables of quite a variety. On leaving Yorktown we have a “Post-Oak” country to pass through a distance of 30 miles. But the ambulance jars me so that I cannot write.
 
March 29
Rode twenty-six miles yesterday, crossed “dangerous pass.” At the “Colletta” about one hour of sundown we arrived at a beautiful creek, whose clear liquid stream seemed so refreshing to us weary travelers. Here we are encamped for the night. The prettiest, most inviting camping ground yet, wood and water handy, also a fine grove. Oh how refreshing did that cool water feel as I bathed my wearied and fevered head in its limpid stream. Here I performed quite a little wash. And after decking out some bush with my hour’s labor, seated myself with my children around the fire, waiting with all patience and curiosity at the cook busily engaged in preparing supper. How camping out with a good supply of provisions, a comfortable bed, fair weather and agreeable company is not so disagreeable as one might imagine. I ought to have mentioned before our arrival here, that we dined near by Madam Growler’s at whose house we bought some fresh baked bread, and boiled eggs. Here our second son, George Frances showed some signs of sickness, probably caused by change of water, diet, &c but with faith in our Heavenly Father, I will hope for the best. Our supper at “Pierpont Creek” was eagerly devoured, George Francis also appeared somewhat better and with Eddie gamboled over the prairie. They seemed like birds let loose from captivity and are making the most of their limited freedom.
 
March 29
Awoke this morning feeling greatly refreshed, and in one half hour after sunrise we found ourselves all ready for another day’s journey. We soon passed Pierpont’s stone, crossed a regular Texas bridge and jogged towards Victoria. Passes several very large plantations, a cavyyard of horses, also the Government train from the port, after riding through the prairie nearly the whole day we reach Greenwood Thicket. Entered these woods and found the trees all looking exceedingly fresh and green, many of them we found in full bloom such as the hackberry, hawthorn, plum, mulberry, &c. At this spot our drivers alighted, to fell firewood, for we must supply ourselves when opportunity offers, if we wish any more fires or cooking purposes, on account of the scarcity of timber on the rest of our journey. Whilst the men are thus engaged I have alighted from our ambulance to refresh myself by walking; I find it quite fatiguing riding all day and attending to the many wants of our juveniles, yet still I manage better than I anticipated. and here I am after crossing Logwood bridge writing in my journal on an old stump. A cavyyard of mules have just passed me, driven by two savage-looking Mexicans, but close in the rear comes our ambulance, freighted with firewood. Must leave my journal for the present and ride with our company. 4:30 p.m. Have crossed a Texas bridge of which I have taken a rough sketch, from this bridge we are driven directly into the town of Victoria which presents an appearance more like our New England villages. I can count more than thirty houses here on the outskirt. Can see the courthouse, churches, hotels &c. We are now encamped in the back part of the town, though rather exposed to view as we are, still what matters it. Pride may intrude itself a little but is easily overcome, when I look to the future and with youth and hope see the advantage of our present movement. The night is rather chilly for campers. Hope the children will keep well. Readily and earnestly engaged are all the men at the present building a fire. There appears to be a great scarcity of grass around our camping ground, which is quite an annoyance to our little Texans as they are continually arming themselves with little sticks to keep the horses away from the small plot of grass which they have found to play upon. Valentine and “the Dr.” have gone into town to seen an artist which the former wished to make a trade with. My “bunk” is ready, so with the children, bid you “good night!”
 
March 30
Sunday morn. Dislike to be obliged to travel on the Sabbath, but circumstances compels my doing so. Read this morning from my pocket bible in Hebrews; trust it may not be long before I can spend my Sabbath as I ought. Today our son Harry is six months old! We have now about thirty miles to travel through the prairie and being mostly “hog-wallow” will be extremely rough and tiresome traveling—we again passed many more, lifeless brute creations, in the distance saw a noble herd of deer but it is impossible to write legibly at present.
 
We finally reached smoother ground, and in this section of the country found a great variety of beautiful flowers, indeed the whole prairie presented one grand display of color of every shade and hue: After a day of more than usual interest we reached “Bay prairie.” In the early part of the day we met quite a number of baggage wagons, also the state from the port. At the stage stand, the Doctor met with a gentleman who according to his own story had been quite unfortunate, lost all his money, clothing &c and had walked all the way from San Antonio (over a hundred miles) and was on his way to the port. He told a strange story, however, about crossing the San Antonio River on a raft, which raft by some means proved treacherous, and with his personal affects he came near also to losing his life. Some of his strange adventure which he related appeared plausible, and as his address was rather prepossessing than otherwise, the Dr. took compassion upon and wished him to take his seat in our ambulance, but as Valentine was walking Mr. Caswell (the name of our new acquaintance) preferred accompanying him, and they started ahead of us whilst we followed on. We had not however proceeded far when of all of a sudden I discovered smoke coming from beneath our ambulance, which on first thought as the shade of our conveyance was dropped on one side, I took to be the prairie on fire, but scarcely had the thought suggested itself, when instantly the Doctor sprang out exclaiming “Our wagon is on fire!” and catching hold of the children had them both safe on “terra firma” whilst I with the babe in my arms leaped over the vast pile of freightage before the Doctor could turn to assist me. The Driver looked on in amazement at our sudden exit, not understanding the exact cause, but not long was he in doubt; the smoke soon hurried him in alighting. The bed (filled with straw) was soon thrown out, as also quilts, pillows, loose coats, etc. The mattress in the confusion was thrown over George Francis, burning his ankle. The prairie took fire and all for a time at least was intense excitement. The water cask from our neighbor’s conveyance was soon at our service, had it not been for this timely aid, I do not know when the fire would have been quenched. It was found upon examination that fire had been smoldering in the ambulance for some time, as the sides of the two trunks were badly burnt as well as the ropes and one end of the ambulance which was charred perfectly black. Everything was dry and in fit state for conflagration. How the fire found its way there no one could tell. Some conjectured one thing, some another. We felt thankful it was discovered soon as it was. A little later, it were doubtful if it could have been extinguished as there was but little water in the cask and a pretty good wind blowing. We were once more restored to composure and rode in until we arrived at the “twelve mile house,” this stand, being that for the stage. The house is kept by a Mrs. Sheldon who formerly lived in Boston and was acquainted with my Aunt Bumstead, also Mrs. Benson & Weeks. Had a short but pleasant conversation with the hostess. Here charges were $1.50 a day but we concluded it were best to keep on which we did, until we reached “Bay prairie” or as I named it more appropriately, as I thought, “Mosquito Prairie,” on account of the swarms of these obnoxious intruders who seemed to infest this part of the country particularly.
 
March 31
Slept none last night –never knew the mosquitoes so troublesome before, never saw any so large, nor felt anything so stinging in its bite, my face as well as the children’s were scarcely recognizable being completely blotched faces, hands, neck and feet the same. I now begin to feel pretty tire of “camping.” Three of our horses are missing this morning, expect the mosquitoes drove them off. The drivers are now in search of them. I am thankful we are so near port, being within ten miles. This is a new life to most of us, and I so not think anything can seem a hardship after our experiences in Texas. We certainly shall know how to appreciate what we did not before. Horses are found, we started, not many miles & we begin to have a glimpse of the bay in the distance, still nearer and the sea is open to our view.
 

The sea! The sea! The deep blue sea!
A thousand thoughts bring back to me.
Soon I may clasp my parents dear
And other much-loved friends may cheer!

 
Still “rolling on” (as the Texan phrase is) and making a bend in our route we come within full sight of the Bay on our left. We then reached the “Point” where some fine houses, and came within sight of “Port Lavaca.” The town presents quite a comely appearance, although not as compact as I imagined it to be, but there are some very prominent looking buildings for a small town. We found a very pleasant boarding house at Mrs. Chirchester where we remained four days, walk out on Friday made some purchases for the children in the shape of sack fearing they might suffer from the cold ere we reached the North. Mrs. Chirchester being sister to the above mentioned Mrs. Sheldon, made it pleasant for me, as she too was acquainted with many of our family connections in Boston. At 4 O’clock p.m. Dr. H, Mr. Caswell and Valentine came with a conveyance for our baggage to take on board the sloop “Mystery” which sloop was to take us all to “Powder Horn” where we should find the schooner “Amytist” [sic] anchored. The Capt. of this vessel had been to see us at Lavaca and the Doctor had engaged a passage with him. But on the Deck of the sloop “Mystery” we were seated when our trio Texans fell asleep, and as the little breeze we had on starting entirely died way, we were at a “stand still” as they phrase it. It was seven miles to “Powder Horn,” growing late, and we not a third of our way there—Eddie George and Harry the babe now soundly asleep were laid in the berths below. The Capt of the sloop appeared very kind and considerate, and ordered a berth prepared for myself, but it was like an oven below deck. I knew I could not sleep since those cruel mischievous, obnoxious pest of the country would not let me leave without them but constantly reminded me of their presence. We had not proceeded far, when the Capt of the schooner Amytist, whose fright was also on the sloop, grew so impatient that he with Mr. Casswell took the small boat attached and rowed toward his own vessel, where he ordered supper to be prepared and berths arranged for our arrival, they returned for us in the course of half an hour, it was now 11 o’clock at night but we must go, for the sloop obstinately stood still and the wind as obstinately quiet and at this rate we might not reach “Powder Horn” until morning so the weakened Trio were awakened, and with the babe in my arms were lowered into the boat, where sat the Dr. and the children on some seats and portmanteaus and soon rowed towards the Amytist, my home probably for the next 25 days. Here we ate supper and returned to our stateroom for the remainder of the night, leaving Capt. Topman & his companions to do the same.
 
April 5
Made arrangements this day for more comfortable accommodations on board, the Captain having provided me with many things for this purpose, such as bed linen, blanket, mirror &c. We are now lying at anchor about five or six yards from shore, within sight of “Powder Horn” and Indianola of which town I have taken a rough sketch as seen from the deck of the Amytist. Many schooners pass us as we lay here at Matagorda Bay, also a steamer from New Orleans.
 
April 6
Today is the Sabbath! and I am much pleased to find that our Capt. regards this day aright and will not take in freight, although the schooner in spite of his demands to the contrary has come alongside us to unload. Still she must anchor as our Capt. will not swerve from his principles, although as many say Sabbath is not recognized here. I find our Capt. is a Baptist in creed, and a religious man, also exceedingly rigid on two points, viz: the observance of the Sabbath, and prohibition of all cursing or swearing aboard his vessel. This seems very pleasant to me, since I have of late been unavoidably thrown among those who have shown no respect for the feelings of other as regards this. Had a pleasant conversation today with the Capt. on religion. Oh how enlivening to the soul it is to converse with one on a theme so dear to one’s own heart. This is a privilege I have not enjoyed for a long time. I find the Mate also a man of religious principles, and as his chest seems to be well stored with good books he has given me some to read today. The children stand their close confinement better than I anticipated, we have to be constantly on the watch for them on deck as there is not much protection against their falling overboard.
 
April 7
Monday, freight taken in early this morning. A steamer from New Orleans passed us for the wharf. Capt. and Valentine are going ashore to make some purchases, as the Capt. expects to sail today.
 
Commencement of our sea voyage
Started! The day at 2 p.m. Anchor up, sails hoisted, homeward bound! Farewell to thee Texas! Land of my children’s birth! The land where I first found my blessed savior, land endeared by many sweet associations. Is it strange that I feel a reluctance on leaving thy shores? but so it is and circumstances now compels us to leave thee! Then farewell to thee—and the woods of Gonzales. I shall never forget thee, neither the charred stump where I knelt in desperate prayer! Nor can I forget the determined stubborn conflict I experienced against the raging enemy of mankind. But with divine aid I conquered! And came out boldly on the Lord’s side. Then have I not cause to look back with fond associations on they loved soil! Oh may the Savior I found there find other converts, who shall awake also from their sleep of perdition and thoughtlessness. Children! Look probably for the last time upon the land of your birth! Farewell to thee Texas! Farewell to the Woods of Gonzales! Farewell to thee loved friends who so earnestly plead with me there. May God bless thee and thy loved land! Farewell!
 
4 O’clock p.m. We are not beating down through Matagorda bay. head winds and shoal water! Anchored at sundown!
 
Apr. 8
Anchor up and again under way—no feeling of sea sickness as yet and am deck much of the time. Still beating down through “Matagorda bay” and now nearly opposite “Decroix Point”. A Pilot has come aboard, but as our Captain is a pretty good one himself feels confident he can make his way out to sea without one! We passed “Decroix Point” of which place I took a rough sketch at 2 p.m. passed the Lighthouse on our right and are now safely “out to sea!” The Capt. feels relieved, this pass being considered quite dangerous! We are now in the Bay of Mexico, but head winds. I have sewed nearly all day, but feel somewhat seasick this eve. George taken sick today, but soon over it and playing again with ropes, hammer, etc.
 
April 9
Slept well last night, children also. But on stirring about began to realize that I was not on “terra firma,” but going on deck soon felt relieved enough to eat a hearty breakfast. Our schooner made another “tact” this morning, we are still under way although the head wind make us very slow travelers. Lost sight of the “Col. Lester” which vessel started a few hours after us from “Powder Horn,” bound like ourselves for New York Harbor. She being a fast sailer we apprehend will beat us, having already gained upon us, but we shall see. Seasick today, at last! Apr. 10th “Head winds” and calms blew pretty fresh however last night—discovered the “Col. Lester” this morn in the distance. Eddie seasick at last eve, also Valentine. I at such times feel a sympathetic influence, when a turn or promenade on deck soon restores me. Am obliged to leave the care of our stateroom to the Dr. who prepared it for my reception in case of need, whilst he sends me on deck with the children. The Capt. is now saying, “Oh come good wind,
“come good wind!”
 
April 11
Rather squally last night, but the wind more favorable today than it has been since we left. One week ago today since we bid Lavaca adieu for the schooner. If we should have fair winds may reach New York in 20 days or less. The mate of the vessel just informed me, that we are now 170 miles from our starting point Matagorda Bay. No seasickness today—no complaints! Read this morning from book of Revelation about the dominion & power of the great Dragon with seven heads. What book is there so interesting to study as the Bible.
 
Had for our repast today a dish of baked beans, the first I have had with one exception since I left home.
 
April 12
Rather squally again last night. Blew pretty fresh this morn and so warm at noon that the Dr. insisted on my taking the children with him on the forward part of the deck, where we found a good breeze and well shaded by the sails besides the comfort of cotton bales for seats, with which the vessel was freighted. Towards eve the breeze quieted down to a dead calm and continued so during the night.
 
April 13
Still calm—schooner at a “stand-still.” Today is the Sabbath. the second passed on board the “Amytist.” Dr. and Capt. had quite a discussion this morning on Baptism and other doctrinal points. At 8 1/2 was called on deck to see a man in the distance in an open boat, which on nearer approach proved to be a large root of a tree with a portion of its trunk and branch, which latter attachment at a distance bore strange resemblance to the above optical illusion. This probably had floated down the Mississippi. Read today from Hebrews also Corinthians on the duty of Christians toward their fellow being &c. Capt. & Dr. had another discussion on religion.
 
April 14
Head winds continue saw in the distance a brig. Today a little swallow lit upon our vessel. The Capt. had no difficulty in taking him prisoner but soon released him. Made a snack for George today.
 
April 15
“Dead Calm” at present, a slight breeze sprung up in the night, but all quiet now. We are probably somewhere within the region of the Apalachicola. Quite a school of porpoises encircled our schooner this morning which incident tended in some degree to break the monotony so peculiar to sea voyages. Our Capt. harpooned one of these whale resemblers in miniature, but the flesh being so soft tore from the harpoon and escaped, diving as is usual among his own specie! We also saw an uncommon number of “Portuguese Men of War” but not signs of any kind of vessel today. The Capt. and Dr. put up a good awning for my comfort on today as I find it uncomfortably warm in the cabin. Have enjoyed this additional comfort greatly. I have lessened the present monotony of my life by sewing and reading, but the men scarcely know what to do with themselves. Tis true they spend most of their time reading the “Yellow covered Literature” and we have no regular promenade deck, like the “Stephen F. Austin” the Packet that took us out to Texas (29 days also) we anticipate swollen feet from want of exercise. As to myself, the only female aboard, my time is wholly occupied sewing, reading, occupations below stairs, writing in this my journal, and more than all watching the children and “minding the baby!” 6 o’clock still calm, we make very slow progress.
 
April 16
Calm still! Scarcely a ripple upon the surface of the sea. Eight vessels in sight at a distance can be plainly seen through the “spy glass.” The Capt. harpooned a shark, quite a number of these inhabitants of the deep around our vessel this eve. We arrived about 5 O’clock p.m. at the meeting of the Mississippi and the Gulf Stream! Quite a difference in the shade of the two waters. That of the former being of a dark mud color, whilst that of the Gulf is of a clear right blue. At this junction our vessel came to a decided stand still! Supposed to be owing to the tide running in the opposite direction from the current of the Mississippi. Soon as the tide receded our vessel started again. Read this morning from Revelation about the seven seals and the book, which no man was worthy to open save one (our Savior). After tea and the little ones at rest we all gathered together on deck, had quite an interesting conversation of fires and City Conflagrations! There are 13 souls aboard this vessel, the moon is almost in her full! The waters are peacefully at rest! Is there a peace there that nothing can disturb, if so whether traveling upon the trackless ocean or the sun scorching prairies, we have an anchor to the soul sure and steadfast.
 
April 17
Was awakened this morning by the heavy flapping of a fish upon the deck, which soon aroused me from my berth. I was soon a witness to its death struggles, and it was curious to note the variety of colors it underwent of the richest hues, which was truly fascination to the eye, even though we knew it was death struggles that caused it. We have also seen some flying fish this morning—the Dr. is now dressing the skin of the dolphin (that so attracted our attention this morning) and I intend making a pair of shoes from it for Master Harry. The eight or nine vessels within sight on yesterday are all hid from our view today save one small Brig in the distance on the southwest of us. Had a fair breeze this morning, but it lasted only two hours. Was on deck a long time last evening it was so warm below stairs.
 
April 18
Dead calm all might, continued until 8 o’clock this morn, when we were all buoyed in spirits be a favorable breeze. Here we still feel the effects of the trade winds—occasionally we see a bird flying in the air. The mate thinks we are yet about 184 miles form land, if so we have traveled very slowly, the being our eleventh day out, since we left, and have not yet reached the point of Florida! Al on board have been rather drooping in spirits, but what is the use, we cannot change the course of the wind any more than the current and Tide, and again is it not God who ruleth all things, and never unwisely, although we may not at the time view it so. The Capt. says there is a large ship in the distance and so there is, but she is too distant to hail.
 
April 19
At about 7 o’clock last nights, the clouds which has been observed by us all for some time approached nearer and nearer our schooner until entirely encircling us. The Capt. said he never saw clouds present such an aspect before, indeed by 9 p.m. they really looked threatening. We experienced some thunder, and very vivid lightening. And I do hope we may not have any worse storm than this whilst at sea. Not that but we consider our vessel safe and our Capt. a man of experience and judgment. Be we have only one regular trained sailor aboard who is capable to go aloft when ordered, the other one is blind from one eye and quite deaf, so that he is looked upon as little or no use. The third is a young man who has studied for the bar, but moneyless, sick of Texas and anxious to reach home, he engaged with the captain to work his passage on to New York, He will do at the wheel, or in fair weather, but rather hazardous in a storm. Then there is the Cook and Steward, “Butler,” nominally, whose tongue would remind one of a windmill on a windy day, for this continually in motion, and in less than five minutes acquaintance you will hear from him the genealogy of his ancestors, of all grades and gradations down to his identical self, who can make more money sawing wood, in one day, than all he could realize in six voyages, in the capacity of cook. But all of this, one of patience might possibly endure, were it not for his pompous, overbearing aye more impudent language I think I ever heard, and may a Capt. would have severely chastised him, and perhaps thrown him overboard ere this. He is in fact scarcely worth noticing and yet I think it wrong to allow him such tongue license. He should be made to know his place and then keep it. But I think him a little crestfallen by a reproof the Capt. gave him this morning, whist making threats that a certain man towards whom he expressed great anger should be killed did he ever cross his path! &c. But this is the character of our steward, who I was going to class among our two sailors in case of emergency, he might do to go aloft. We have now on board two of the prettiest living curiosities of the fish species I ever saw. I do hope we will be able to preserve them until we reach home, they somewhat resemble a thimble in size and shape, but most beautiful in shade and texture. Oh for a fair breeze. It requires much patience to travel in this way with three small children, when though there are other eyes than my own upon them. And they require close watching. Have not felt well today—under the Doctor’s care. The weather is quite oppressive. 2 o’clock Some signs of rain, which I do hope will be verified as the spring water on board now tastes and smells so badly that it is enough to make one sick, indeed has acted with two three of our passengers like an emetic. An English brig passed us about sundown. Wind variable, and still squally.
 
April 20
This is the third Sabbath we have passed aboard the Amytist. Read this morning in Acts. How persevering John and Peter had to be in their Acts towards the rulers and scribes, surely these faithful apostles set us a good example of love and duty. Wind today from the North. We have been going since sunrise at the rate of eight knots an hour. It is now about 3 p.m. and we are making greater speed than we have since we started, it being two weeks tomorrow and we are still in the Gulf of Mexico. The waves are dashing high, and then breaking into deep valleys while the white foam comes like lights of relief amidst the deep and dark blue sea. We are scarcely able to eat our dinner today the vessel rocked so severely. Our tea was three times upset. Knives and forks, sometimes a plate of bread, butter or cakes would be thrown by a sudden jerk upon the floor, and from thence slide against the wall of our cabin. One young man fell backward with his plate and knife in his hand just ready to take a hurried bite. One presents quite a ludicrous appearance, and often in much danger of bruised limbs and swollen heads during these pitch ship battle with the elements. My head aches somewhat this eve. No wonder such a day of commotion and rocking. Surely we have been in a cradle all day! There is a large ship in sight, she is coming nearer every moment. Must go on deck and watch her before reading again in my pocket bible.
 
April 21
Quite squally last night, indeed at one time we seemed to be in danger the wind blowing one and two a.m. a pretty high gale. I slept but little knowing we had a dangerous point to make and such few experienced hands on board but God protected us from every danger and it is to His gracious mercy that we are all in safety this morning. Past Bush Key light yesterday p.m. although we were ignorant of it at the time, felt rather wearied this morning from want of sleep. Our strong North wind has died away, so that we make but slow progress today. At 2 p.m. a schooner appeared in sight, having our her flag of distress, we came within speaking distance in a short time and found her to be the “Alvereta” from ____capas (Furcapas?) Louisiana bound for Portsmouth N.H. “Ship ahoy!” said the Captain of the “Alvereta.” “Where from?” “Lavaca, Texas!” “How long out”? “12 days!” “Where bound?” “New York!” “Whar’s your longitude?” “Eighty-four-and-a-half!” “What’s yours?” asked our Captain. “About the same!” “But we are out of provision said our neighbor except beef, no flour, corn, tea, coffee no sugar nor anything but beef and water. Can you supply us?” “We have thirteen souls on board and only one barrel of flour left!” said our Captain. Have got to put into some port for water. However at the Captain of the!” Alvereta saying he had his wife and children aboard who had eater nothing but beef for several days our Captain concluded to divide with him our corn and flour. So their Capt. lowered his boat, came on board and was supplied until they could obtain further relief. Poor women and children! Crying probably for food! I was so glad to hear our Capt. say he would divide our provision with them although we are short ourselves. This little incident has relieved the present monotony of our sea voyage life.
 
April 22
Our schooner “pitched” severely last night, once about 9 p.m. her bow was almost entirely enveloped under water. I thought she would never ride herself again and then such a racket as everything would make in its slide first toward the bow, then to the helm. She continued to pitch nearly all night owing to the swelling of the sea, but she did not dip her bow again as deeply as before. The weather this morning is quite fine. some breeze, but being in the stream the current carries us from two to three knots an hour, breeze or no breeze. We are now somewhere within the reach of Beaufort Light. Last night we passed Florida reefs. The Bahamas banks are on one side of us and the coast of Florida on the other. Today we had beef, pudding, bread and tea for dinner. The weather this noon was pleasantly cool, the morning rather chilly. There is now at 4 PM little, or no breeze, having died away since ten this morning.
 
April 23
1:30—The breeze started up again last eve after sundown continuing all night so that we made very good speed and are now somewhat within the region of mosquito-bar. Last night was so beautiful! The moon rose at nine, the stars shone vividly in the Heavens. Oh thought I, as I looked around & could see naught but sky, stars, moon and water, who, thought I, can doubt the existence of a God! Who can in reality believe that all came by chance so diametrically opposite from order, the grand beauty of Nature. Take the diurnal & annual revolution of the Sun the moon the planets in their course, and let one answer the inquiry calmly and honestly, as to the dependence that could be placed upon the regularity of these bodies if order was not the first grad ruling theory practically exhibited in all God’s works! And is Chance, Order? Will the two act in unison! Now Order every honest mind knows exist and nothing of God’s work is without it! Alas!Thought I that Man should ever have brought sin into the world! Otherwise how different would everything have been, and then if this world in itself is so beautiful independent of the existence of Man, what must heaven be of which we are told the eye hath not seen or ear heard, neither has it entered into the Mind of Man to conceive the joys laid up for those, whose inheritance will be there. Alas! For thoughtless world-deluded mortals so blind! When all he is asked to do is open his eyes, see, believe & act as Christ pleads with us to do. Now what reasonable rational being will choose the pleasures of this world at the sacrifice of such inconceivable joys as we are promised in Heaven!
 
This morning at about 10:30 a large crane lit upon the bow of our vessel. It was the poorest looking bird I ever beheld it seemed entirely exhausted from flying. Someone tried to catch it but it was too timid and flew away to some of our neighboring barks. The mate has just informed me that since yesterday 12 midnight we have traveled 121 miles.
 
April 24
Traveled quite fast all night but this morn the winds are all lulled & the waters at rest & continued so nearly all day. The heat has been so oppressive that I was obliged to take my babe & sit on the foredeck it being there quite shady, but I had scarcely seated myself when a little bird lit nearby me on the deck. This had been so common a thing that no one took any notice of it except the steward who sprang forward and caught it just as it had closed its eyes exclaiming “A mocking bird”.’ It had doubtless flown some distance seeming quite exhausted. We soon found a basket (as Eddie had bought it of the steward for fifty cents) & after sewing the cover all around for a cage an about to put him in the basket away he flew far from our grasp and woeful looks and panting little hearts. Away went our prize which we intended to take to Boston. Once more he returned to our vessel then flying too low dipped his weary wings into the water, tried to rise above it but sank again too exhausted into a watery grave. This was too much for us. Poor bird. Although hardy looking it was too weak to travel farther without rest. But for some wise reason we were to be disappointed in our transient prize. Rice, tea, bread and meat for dinner, after which sat nearly all the evening in the shade of the foresail. After tea saw a large whale which the Capt. thought must be about sixty feet long, he did not come near enough for a close inspection.
 
April 25
The night was oppressively warm in the cabin, how glad I shall be when our voyage is over, and I can get our of this chicken coop for it does not seem much larger. Got some gulf weed today, there seems to be an abundance of it around us now. We found this morning that the breeze had started up favorably at midnight as we are now making very good speed, if it continues thus we shall make good progress today.
 
April 26
We are now nearly abreast of the Bermudas. Last night at sundown the wind blew afresh from the N. East & gradually increased all night so that we had almost a hurricane of it before morning, the clouds grew quite thick around us and at times appeared quite threatening. I slept but little all night. The vessel pitched so severely and dipped at times so deeply under water I felt fearful she would never right herself, but the same careful, watchful Providence who has protected us thus far still guided our ship and kept the mountain breakers from injuring or disabling our fragile bark. The wind still continues but not as severely as during the night but now it is more from the effects of the sea after such a severe blow. Indeed our vessel dipped if possible deeper than ever and the waves come roaring on from the distance, every moment becoming larger and larger meeting others in contrary direction, when they form one huge mountain, then dissolve and forming one tremendous valley. At 9 a.m. however the clouds thickened around us and we fear that Bermuda is not going to let us pass without her usual destructive reception. The old sea phrase couplet is continually running through my mind “If Bermuda let you pass look out for Cape Hatteras.” This is a point generally dreaded by mariners as well it may be lying as it does between squally latitudes, rocks shoals & islands innumerable. At 10 the squally clouds began to appear nearer larger darker, assuming the most threatening appearance. The vessel rocked to violently, I went below with the children. Soon I heard the voice of our Captain, “Down with the flying jib.” “Down with it!” “Reef the “Mainsail.” “Haul to boys.” “Quick about it!” Then I knew we were in danger of squalls, then there was hurrying to and fro upon the deck, sailors going aloft, fresh given, all in less time than it has taken me to write it everything was made ready in case of need. We had many of these squalls during the day, indeed had we not a strong vessel, a good Captain and more than all a watchful Providence over ruling all things I know not where we might have been. We were called from our dinner today to see a water spout about half a mile astern of us. It was the first many of us had ever seen and more than probably might never see again it being a rare occurrence in this region. It was a sight truly terrible & sublime in its towering grandeur, here was the strong easterly winds, the current of the Gulf, the tide and trade winds all at war with each other. The waterspout was formed by the opposite powers conflicting, each seemingly defying each other in strength, & thus forming this towering pile of foaming angry water, high into the air, apparently as touching the black clouds above. Had our vessel been nearer we should undoubtedly have met with some serious disaster for judge the aspect the ocean rolling mountain waves, lashed here and there by the white swelling foam, the waters not blue, nor green, but black, perfectly black, the reflection of the thick angry clouds above, the wind blowing first from one direction, then another, until two or three successive waterspouts were formed and forming our schooner following the violent heavings of the sea, now upon the top of a huge mountain wave then receding to its depth in valleys below while were mountains of seas as it were on every side looking eager to engulf us at every moment. Our main sheet gave way, which was soon supplied by another, then the foresail had some slight breakage which would be easier for the next squall to “strip into ribbons” as the sailors say. The sight with its threatening consequences though fearful in itself was majestically sublime. Here could be seen the awful majesty of God, here his power, but a plank separates us from eternity! A few moments and we might be with all we loved and cherished upon earth lost to sight forever in this world and by those too whom our anxious hearts and yearning to see. How little we know of ourselves! How seldom the thoughts dwell upon its inner life in short how imperfectly do we study ourselves with a view to correct, revise & learn! Years of bitter experience sometimes must be passed before we commence on such an acquaintance! What an intermixture of the past, present and future hopes are woven together. Oh the mind of man! What a mystery! I do know that I am superstitious, and yet I do not fancy the idea of a corpse being aboard our vessel. I have thought of it in connection with so many wrecks lying around us the coast and within sight! The winds and squalls continued nearly all day looking fearful at intervals. We can neither lie, stand, or sit still. I slid today with my babe in my arms across the cabin floor and fell with two or three chairs following me! Children get bruises, and pretty good knocks occasionally; plaster cups &c are as full of life today as our vessel appears to be. No rest for anyone, or anything. Slide, slide, roll, roll go chairs, stools, plates, pillows, beds, brushes, books, pitchers, spittoons, children and all. Perpetual motion today certainly.
 
April 27
One month today since we left Mr. Polley’s. The storm continued nearly all night. Fourth Sabbath today. I did not mention that we had a fine shower yesterday. The wind has abated this morn and the ocean is calmer than ever. How different from the preceding day when as I wrote…
 
1 High the billows dash around me,
  And the sea is white with foam!
Fearfully, the wild winds murmur,
Shrieking death’s blast in their tone!
Thick and fast, the dark clouds lower
O’er Bermuda’s dreaded pass,
Round our bark they seem to hover
In one dark and threatening mass!
   
2 Varied currents from the whirlpool,
  In the distance that we see!
All the element commotion
Are raging war upon the sea.
These are sights sublime to witness,
These will elevate the mind!
And from nature looking upward,
There! we can Author find.
   
3 Dear as is the thought of meeting,
  My loved parents on the sea,
Buoyant as my heart grows ever,
As the distance lessened be,
Yet, if this fond wish’s denied me
By the Mighty Power above,
Should the yawning sea engulf us
All is right! for God is Love!
   
4 Should the treasures I bear with me,
  Natives of a foreign strand,
Be denied the pleasure knowing
Kindred of their parent band,
Should the fond hope that has cheered me
Whilst progressing in my toil,
Find their end upon the ocean
I submit— God does it all!
 
April 28
—Today is Monday—everything is calm and quiet, save most of the passengers who are grumbling that we are delayed by so much head winds and calms. But there is scarcely a day passeth, but what something occurs to break the monotony. This morning our mate caught a good-sized shark and hauled it upon deck. It differed much from any fish I ever saw, having its mouth opening in its throat. It had two rows of upper and lower teeth. The mate (Lee) tried hard to catch one of the pilot fish by which they are surrounded but was unsuccessful—although he tied the shark by its tail to a long line, and not being dead it as followed by its pilot fish which are almost the size of the small catfish striped with rings around its body of black and white, very pretty and showy, but too keen to be caught like its predecessor. Spent most of the eve on the fore part of the deck it being so much cooler there. Walked out over the bow. Little more wind since four o’clock.
 
April 29
Our good breeze continued all night and we are making good progress today which puts everyone in good spirits and some are even skipping upon deck. New life seems to animate all on board. Busy this morning in taking a sketch for the Capt. of our camping out, which amuses him much and wishes to give so correct a representation as he thinks it must be to his friends in Portland. This ever at 1-1/2 o’clock our foresail boom fell down—the iron pin gave way—Valentine was seated beneath it at the time. He heard a crash above him, and had just time to make his escape ere it fell; the men went directly to work and now it is up again and we are fast under way—the wind increasing making railroad speed; if this continues we shall probably arrive in New York by Friday or Saturday. We pass Cape Hatteras about 12 o’clock.
 
April 30
Today Henry Williams is seven months old, been rather fretful—teething makes him so I suppose. Breeze continued all night, indeed the wind blew almost a gale so that some of our upper sail had to be taken in—but our rate is quite moderate this morn indeed I fear we may be becalmed again. Saw a large school of Porpoises last eve perhaps sixty or more leaping and frolicking over one another; two or three head leaders would take leaps of ten or twelve feet entirely out leaping the rest, when all would follow an amusing sight truly.
 
May 1
Wind from the northeast, continuing all night—the wind increases hourly so the orders for set sails, keep sails, were heard on deck, indeed I thought our vessel rolled before, but it was nothing compared to last night; nothing would stand in its place and had it not been for the tight grip we all had on the sides of our berth I greatly fear we should all have been unceremoniously ejected from our narrow shelf of repose. This is May-Day—last year we were in Texas and could gather bouquets of natural flowers truly; for the prairies there are one large flower garden of every color, tint, and form. 6 o’clock this morn we made an attempt to eat breakfast, but fearful as it may seem to be in a vessel in a storm, the waves rolling mountains high over your head, and Coma (the large waves making tracts towards us) after Coma carrying our vessel under its influence the sight within doors is one truly ludicrous if not ridiculous. Imagine us for a moment after an uneasy night of severe rolling, grasping and catching, hungry for breakfast notwithstanding—after unsuccessful attempts to set a table eating the best way we can—here comes the cook with his basket of provision one arm and coffee pot on the other, down he comes not with his usual gait step after step, but one head long reel and down he slips into our cabin luck ‘tis for him he had not upset at all; but he has taken his seat just where the vessel rolled him, his basket on one side, teapot at his feet, cap setting a little awry rather worse for the reel; now there is the Capt. at the wheel so we shall not have him to breakfast with us this morning, but the Mate with his souwester tied down under his bearded chin is trying his best to hold his cup of tea, bread, butter, ham, etc.—there is the Dr. whose tall figure nearly eclipses what little light we can have admitted this morn but a more flexible mortal one never beheld first his head reels forward then his feet, bread and butter in one hand, his tea cup in the other watching a favorable roll to take his next sip, and then telling some humorous story trying perhaps for the button, then there is our companion in trouble; Mr. Caswell. here Cook fill up my cup and I’ll see if I can hold it this time—and down it does before another accident. Valentine takes his seat on the step of the deck way having tried three legged stools until quite satisfied that they cannot be trusted with hot tea to drink on a rolling vessel; he has no sooner got fairly seated when the Mate comes by him with cup; Brown must go up on deck—so cup plate knife etc. are carefully taken up but the Mate has thought of something he has left behind, while V. is reeling from one corner to another waiting for the Mate’s exit. Come, come, hurry, I want to eat my breakfast if you will ever get out of the way. No compliments on deck this eather but pro and con entirely. Then there is your humble servant seated on the floor of her stateroom, holding down the babe with one had who will try his best to feel his own weight vessel or no vessel, but while I have reached out my hand for my plate down he has tumbled and rolled over his pillow and lost entirely to sight underneath our tier of berths well I must hunt him up and then snatch my tin cup of tea at intervals. As to Eddie and George, it has been a long dreary day to them, closely confined in their berths, first Eddie is sick then George, but the latter after his sickness want his bread and butter again, then is sick—but the vessel rolls and pitches so severely, it is unsafe to be hardly out of our berths—I keep mine nearly all day from sheer necessity for in this way I can hold the baby down and call to George and Eddie above me, or to George Sen. to quiet those little dickens above us; we are placed in an elevated position, are having three tiers, the children in the upper, myself and Harry in the second, and Dr. in the pit—or on the floor; indeed we are only actors on the ocean but should the curtain fall where then would our acting be. (How much like a drama is this world of ours? And we its actors, some for a short time others longer). Dinner and supper were eaten pretty much in the same way, more or less tea wasted when unlooked for rolls make their effects known—bread upsetting, meats, gravies, etc., etc., -- no unusual occurrence.
 
May 2
We may be within 100 mile of New York City—but the weather still looks gloomy and shows but little signs of clearing off. Friends at home are probably thinking of us at this time, for being near shore in a storm is rather a dangerous position—shall not get in as soon as we anticipated we fear—we are in about 25 fathoms water at this time 9-1/2. (Someone anniversary day in our family sister Lizzie and brother Jerry, but I forget how many years this makes) –Saw a large school of mackerel this morning making the water where they were perfectly black—the Capt. thought there might be enough to fill five hundred barrels. This would be quite a favorable time for mackerel voyagers. We are probably within 100 miles of N. York and are kept here drifting about, first by headwinds, then calms—made a little more speed this evening about 6 o’clock.
 
May 3
Quite a squall blew up last night, it thundered and lightened terrifically. Heard the Capt. about 7 in the morning cry out—all hands on deck –down with the flying jib—up Mr. Lee (the Mate) this is a bad night—we must head out to sea again—headwinds, no movement every moment seemed an hour; Val. Called out to Mr. Lee don’t you hear that Lee. Capt. says up—whereupon he creeps out of his berth, and prepares himself with coat, souwester and even mittens . . . . Before he is ready—Come Mr. Lee calls the Capt. again —Boys—Jackson—Lee—you one-eyed—and you worse than the deaf and blind—where are you all—why don’t you haul that flying jib I say—then another pause which seemed to me an age—for we were going with railroad speed straight for shore; but after the Mate found his way on deck, and had one or two severe tumbles, down came the jib—keep the mainsail, put a double reef in her—be quick about it—are you doing to be all night doing the work of five minutes? There’s a bad squall ahead—but they hardly get prepared for it when I heard the Capt. sing out—there, it is over—I geared it would be worse than it was. I forgot to mention that about ten o’clock a revolving light was seen, so that the Capt. headed right out for sea—not knowing exactly which light it was—the lightening was very vivid, dazzlingly so—and I felt our position to be fearfully dangerous provided we were near shore than anticipated at 12—the Capt. came down to dress in oil his costume—it raining pretty hard; he was about booting his feet when I heard him exclaim—what in the world is the matter with my boots, he shook it and out jumped a mouse—and all her nest after her—this created quite a laughter amongst those who were awake sufficiently to hear it and imagine these little culprits running full speed from their snug hiding place.
 
The storm abated after midnight—it is quite rainy and unpleasant now—it is about 2 o’clock. Land is discovered in the distance—it is thought to be the Jersey shore. I hope we will get in soon for I suffer much from cold—indeed the children, Dr. and all look pretty blue—our fare too is becoming more scanty every day—we are out of sugar, butter, and nearly tea—fare quite coarse. Oh how many times when seated at our coarse fare in Texas have I wished for a bit of Mother’s good old-fashioned mince pied or—plum pudding—not having tasted any since we left New York City. Oh what a rarity would this be—but we cannot help it. Should be fall quite short like the Schooner Alvarata I know not what we should do, but some way will be provided I have faith enough to believe. Some of the passengers how now discovered the beach, also woodland in the distance—this spot the Capt. calls Great Egg Harbor. We can see houses distinctly also vessels lying at anchor there. It is a very refreshing and welcome sight to see land or the appearance of anything green after the long expansive waste of ocean blue that is ever before the eye. A steamer passed us about 4 o’clock bound for some of the southern orts—we were within speaking distance as she passed. We all suffer much from the cold—most of us keep our berths to keep warm. Do hope we may get in soon for the weather is extremely severe coming as we do from a warm climate. We are also out of tea (have not had coffee but once), sugar, butter, eggs, ham, dried apples, molasses nearly all gone—rice entirely—and about nine pounds of flour left, with plenty of beef so tainted it would make a dog sick. Saleratus and yeast are all gone, so one can judge that our bread must be heavy enough for a good dose of physic as a dessert by way of helping its digestion—so in short by tomorrow imagine us as you sit at your good roast turkey—Irish potatoes—cranberry jelly—coffee with all its relishing condiments etc., etc. seated here within 60 miles of you drifted about first by calms then headwinds and gales in our cabin of 14 x 15 ft. eating or rather gnawing at our allowance of tough wheat and water mixture with perhaps a cup of cold water, and tainted beef. Well even this with a contented and cheerful mind at peace with God and at peace with all the world especially after the hard fare as at some places in Texas, is not so bad but it might be a little worse. It may be the Capt. may put into Little Egg Harbor—but the Capt. has just informed me to the contrary, so it will be indeed a hard fate should we still meet with the same weather we have had for the last week.
 
May 4
This is the first Sabbath we have spent on board the Ametyst, who would have thought it would have been so long—27 days since we left Power Horn. The sun is out clear and pleasant but little or no breeze; feel faint for want of some stimulating food—tea is so weak it can scarcely be called tea. 2 o’clock—dined on wheat biscuit and the last of our molasses—could not touch the meat—when I do it will be because I am almost starved. Well no one knows but those who meet with privations, how to fully appreciate those blessings and luxuries against which even too many complain. Passage today in Ephesians 2nd Chap. On salvation through the blood of Christ—and after that salvation is obtained we are considered as in the 19th verse no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and household of God—this is a good text and a good sermon has been drawn from it. 5 o’clock made supper on bread and tea water. Came again within sight of land, supposed to be Barnagat lighthouse. Also saw a fine sight—a large fleet of vessels in the distance, which some of us at first took to be trees—vessels that had probably been lying for a long time in New York waiting for a fair wind to take them out of the harbor—there are about 160 more all bound pretty much in one direction. The wind is fair for them but dead for us, thus we have been drifted about for 8 to 10 days nearly within sight of New York and no wind to reach there. Twenty-four hours good wind and we might have landed eight days ago, but for some wise reason we are thus detained therefore will not complain. We are nearly out of water as well as provisions and have our allowance each day.
 
May 5
Wind after sundown dried away and continued so until midnight when it changed to a headwind again, thus we have it alternately. But now the Capt. says he will shave himself and see what that will do—so before he had finished his toilet the wind changed her course after however another calm, and we are not at 11/10 past—having a very good breeze from the S. W. rather moderate—still better than we have had—came within a mile of the beach this morning, saw a great deal of smoke and think there have been fires burning there. Mt steamer, also a great number of vessels all around us, some bound out to sea—others like ourselves going in. This is Monday again surely before another passes is we are all alive we shall probably be with our friends—but I said this a week ago, and still here. If this wind continues shall soon have to stop my journal as our tour will be then be nearly over after landing in New York for the present at least. 4 o’clock dead calm again—continued until 6 when a little breeze sprung up took ship and sailed along the Jersey coast where we found the breeze still stronger—saw the hull and mast of some vessel that had been wrecked, thrown upon the beach. This is the third wreck we have seen in sight, the other was on Great Egg Harbor. Vessels and steamers all around us. One Havana steamer sailed by us with great rapidity, it seemed to be a new boat and a very pretty sight it was. I never saw the ocean look so alive as this evening. It may be that having a little favorable breeze, we are all in so much better spirits that everything looks cheerful and animated. Ate our last flour bread tonight so the cook informed us—well I should not despair, if there were not even the remnant of last nights cooking for breakfast. We have saved one-and-a-half biscuit for George and Eddie’s breakfast.
 
May 6
Tuesday—had little or no breeze all night; before sundown we saw some oranges, apples and onions, also flour barrel on the surface of the water passed directly by the hull of our vessel; but we could not get them s the waves threw them off too far. I then thought that the passage had literally been fulfilled, “Cast thy bread upon the waters, for after many days thou shalt find it.” For our Capt. have to the “Alvereta” and now that we are in like circumstances, we have found after many days the same again—but now, we have it surely verified for about eight this morning after breakfasting on our last biscuit, all one round apiece, and some coffee which the steward declared was the last—a schooner directly astern of us, came alongside when our Capt. hailed her and asked for bread until we could reach the City etc.—they had but little flour, so they pared us some meal and coffee—our boat was lowered and the Capt.—Steward—and Sam (sailor) went aboard of her (the Rio) and this little supply came very acceptable. Thus have “faith”—never despair, we shall always be provided for, if we will but trust in Him who heareth the Ravens when they cry. He will also hear and provide for those who doubt not his promises. 10 o’clock and calm again—29 days today—we are now nearly abreast of the Highland. There are now almost within sight six or seven wrecks on shore, and last night at about 9, being in a dead calm, and the current drifting us ashore just where the wrecks were, the Capt. ordered the stays off the anchor in case we drifted too far—the Dr. did not tell me of this for fear of giving me too much alarm—but I think I should just as lief have known it. 10.5 past Mr. Caswell has just caught one of the largest Cod I ever saw—it weighed 19 pounds—so here is another proof if we will but do our duty, have faith we need never despair. Now we need not exchange dinners with anyone today. How wonderful are the ways of Providence! 5 o’clock—ate our excellent dinner for which we all feel grateful and much revived. We have passed the “Highlands,” are now passing “Staten Island” on our right, while we have a view of “Long Islands.” How fast my heart begin to beat—we are now near home after an absence of 4 years and a half—a tedious passage of 29 days, am also through with my journal, and shall be soon as I can add we have reached New York Harbor. 8 o’clock arrived at last safely into New York Harbor and close into dock but not without severe labor and skill to avoid collision, and wedging among the hundreds of schooners. Barges, vessels, etc., some on the move, others lying at anchor to say nothing of the Jersey boats that blockaded our access into Port. I would here state that the vessel before mentioned, and which started with us, the Capt. of which boasting that he would reach New York in 10 days beating us altogether, we hailed, just approaching the Harbor with ourselves! She also, had encountered severe gales, but greatly shattered and much worse for the encounter. She had lost her figurehead, rigging, etc. looking rather depressed; it is not well to boast too much over others, however, fair the start and appearance—it is the testing of after severe storms, such as we experienced, which must decide who wins -! Thus ends my little journal.
 

 

&c: and so forth or etcetera

cavyyard: colloquialism of nineteenth–century Texas. It started with the Spanish “caballada,” which meant a group of mules or saddle horses (later the northern cowboys called it a “remuda”). In Texas and the Southwest in the early nineteenth century, “caballada” was corrupted into “cavallado” or “caviarde,” then by the 1850s it was “cavyyard” or simply, “cavvie yard.” It was spelled several ways in the period.

viz: altered abbreviation for the Latin videlicet; meaning namely

whale resemblers in miniature: she is probably referring to a dolphin or dolphin-like sea animal

saleratus: sodium bicarbonate; baking soda, as used in cooking

lief: gladly

souwester: floppy rain hat with the wide brim

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